By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Health tourism is developing all around the world and becomes a global trend in the modern industry. One of the main distinctions of this type of tourism is that it doesn't depend on the season and is always available.
Azerbaijan is expected to adopt an Action Plan for the development of health tourism in the near future, head of the State Tourism Agency office Kanan Gasimov said addressing the 3rd Global Healthcare Travel Forum and the fifth Assembly of the Global Healthcare Travel Council in Baku.
He said that Azerbaijan has great potential in the field of health tourism, which creates conditions for its development and the arrival of many tourists to the country.
“In Azerbaijan, there are significant opportunities for substantial success in this area, but it is necessary to eliminate the drawbacks that hinder the development of opportunities for health tourism. In order to lead in this area, it is necessary to follow the new trends and new standards," Gasimov noted.
To do this, each created product must be developed in accordance with international standards, he mentioned.
"And to win the competition, it is necessary to demonstrate the advantages available. At the same time, efforts will be increased to preserve the sustainability of positive processes in Naftalan, Duzdagh and other similar health centers,” Gasimov added.
Generally, there are great opportunities to develop health tourism in Azerbaijan since the country is rich in therapeutic mineral and thermal waters, it enjoys mild climate and fascinating natural landscapes - forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls.
Moreover, there are around 300 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. The mud is used for treatment of radiculitis, skin, cardiovascular, gynecological and urological diseases as well as gastrointestinal disturbances. It is also widely used in the cosmetology.
The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan for medical treatment in January-November 2018 increased by 30 percent compared to the same period in 2017. Many locals and foreign tourists visit Istisu, Naftalan, Galaalti and Duzdagh health centers for treatment.
The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan for medical treatment is expected to increase by 18 percent in 2019. Currently, Azerbaijan is developing a strategy for health tourism development.
Tourists are especially interested to visit Naftalan city, which is considered to be a unique health center. Naftalan oil, which is a remedy of many diseases, glorified Azerbaijan long before the oil boom that made Baku famous in the 19th century.
The healing properties of this special type of oil have been known to medicine for over 600 years and have been successfully used in the treatment of various diseases. As it penetrates the skin, the oil accelerates the metabolic process, boosting cell regeneration. It has a calming, cooling and antiseptic effect, relieves joint pain, cures psoriasis, calms the nerves and beautifies the skin.
The world’s only museum of crutches is also located in the city. The exhibits in the museum are crutches left by tourists who came to Naftalan for treatment. No longer needed after a successful treatment, they replenish the museum's showcases, not only pleasing the eye with variety of designs and sizes, but also giving hope to those who came to the resort for treatment.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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